Wednesday, 12 September 2007

'We're Ready for CHOGM!'...and other news

All around Kampala Saatchi & Saatchi designed billboards have gone up of various 'celebrities' declaring they are ready for the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November. The ad campaign has been widely derided for its choice of faces to represent Uganda, including Gaetano (had sex on Big Brother Africa), Ragga Dee (a local pop star) and bizarrely Rio Ferdinand (spent one night in Uganda's plushest hotel when opening a soccer school). It has been quite fairly argued that these individuals may not accurately represent Ugandans or create the type of image that foreign Heads of State will appreciate.

Nevertheless the city is in the process of getting a makeover. Pavements are being repaired, pot holes filled in and flowers planted everywhere. Hotel staff have been sent on service training courses and every small business is desperately trying to get in on the CHOGM boom. It will be the biggest international event Uganda has ever hosted (and of course the Queen will be here) so I can understand why people are so excited. I just hope all this effort and money proves worth it in the long-term.

Otherwise things are continuing as usual on campus. Lectures and classes are interesting, although finding books on the reading list is not easy. I am still working out what exactly is expected but I’m sure the first assignments will shed some light on that. My room is becoming slowly more personalised, I've joined the local DVD rental club (the sort of place where you don't inquire too closely about copyright law) and am still looking for a day job. Tonight I have football training and then off to watch the England game at the Irish pub.

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